Solo A Star Wars Story - Five Reasons You'll Love It
Han Solo, cinema’s favourite smuggler and loveable Han Solo was always going to get his own movie.
Even before Disney paid megabucks back in 2012 to acquire Star Wars from Lucasfilm, George Lucas has revealed that he had already started development on a film about a young Han Solo, and he had hired Star Wars veteran scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay.
After relaunching the series with The Force Awakens, Disney soon revisited the script and began pre-production on a spin-off.
For the role of Solo, made so iconic by Harrison Ford, they saw hundreds of actors, including Kingsman: The Secret Service star Taron Egerton, Jack Reynor, who made his name in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Harry Potter star Tom Felton, Godzilla's Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Mr Robot's Rami Malek, The Fault In Our Stars' Ansel Elgort, Now You See Me's Dave Franco, Whiplash's Miles Teller and even Chandler Riggs, the 16-year-old star of The Walking Dead.
Eventually, though they settled on Alden Ehrenreich, star of Beautiful Creatures and the highlight of The Coen Brothers’ Hollywood comedy Hail, Caesar!
Joining Ehrenreich are Donald Glover, best known for his roles in Community and The Martian, taking the role of young Lando Calrissian, while Game Of Thrones' Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton and Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
The film went into production at the start of 2017 and sadly, as with the previous spin-off Rogue One, Solo enjoyed a very rocky ride.
Rogue One went through massive reworkings and producers ended up bringing on board Bourne Legacy director Tony Gilroy to assist director Gareth Edwards as well as providing extensive script adjustments. It was a gig that earned Gilroy over $5 million dollars by its end, but Edwards stayed on until the end of production.
Solo went one better. Or worse. Original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, best known for their work on the Jump Street movies, were let go three months in filming and Ron Howard was brought in to finish the film.
Theories as to why the pair were let go range from a mismatched tone to slow-moving production to an unnamed source comparing their take on Solo to “Jim Carrey’s performance in Ace Ventura at times”, but Howard stepped in and takes director’s sole credit for the film.
The movie is an origin story. We meet Solo as a teenager, part of a strange, Oliver Twist style gang of street thieves, working for a vicious monster. Looking for a way out, he soon finds one and we’re off, off on an adventure that ties him up with a gang of galactic smugglers and a 196-year-old Wookie (you’ve met him before), trying to steal a treasure trove of valuable coaxium and square the gang’s debt with the gangster Dryden Vos.
The film is in cinemas now and is available to pre-order in four formats from hmv’s online store here. But, before all that, we caught an early screening and have rounded up five reasons you’ll love it...
It’s a lot of fun…
The first time we stepped into a Star Wars spin-off it was Rogue One, which was brilliant but decidedly light on the laughs and quite grim in patches. This is a whole different ballgame.
The jokes are constant, the pace is quick and the tone is light, it’s the most straightforwardly fun Star Wars instalment to date.
Alden Ehrenreich comes up trumps with his take on Han Solo…
Ehrenreich has spoken at length about honouring Harrison Ford’s take on the character, but not copying it, which is exactly what he’s done. He has the cheek, the charm, the smile and the reckless appetite for danger, but he’s a rawer, rougher take on the character. It really works.
But Donald Glover steals the show…
Glover’s Lando Calrissian is the film’s highlight, he’s dashing, rogueish and owner of a lot of the best lines. More of him, please.
The supporting cast is excellent too…
By no means is this Ehrenreich’s movie, Woody Harrelson’s cynical Tobias Beckett, who serves as Solo’s mentor, Emilia Clarke’s Qi’Ra, Han’s childhood sweetheart and fellow adventurer, Paul Bettany’s terrifying crime lord Dryden Vos and last, but by no means least, Phoebe Waller-Bridge who wows as sarky droid L3.
The action sequences are spectacular…
The movie brings plenty of light and laughs, but also the spectacle we’ve come to expect from the galaxy far, far away. Particularly brilliant is a high-wiring train hijacking that will definitely get your pulses racing.